Steve Cavanagh – The Defence
Trade Paperback: 305 pages (March 2015)
Publisher: Orion ISBN: 978-1-0491-5250-9
Eddie Flynn is a New York lawyer who has not set foot inside a courtroom for over a year (for reasons that become clear later on in the book).
He has to return to the courtroom when he has threatened with a gun in the toilet of a diner by Arturas and taken outside to meet his boss Olek Volchek, head of the Russian Mafia in New York who is facing murder charges. The reason for his sudden change of heart about returning to the legal profession – it is not the gun that is the incentive but that Oleks goons have Eddies ten year old daughter Amy in a safe house (or at rather ‘a safe for the moment house’) and that they have given Eddie a bomb lined jacket to wear in court to dispose of the prosecutions star witness.
To further show that they mean business they show Eddie a white gym bag with his ex-partner Jacks head in – he was made the same offer (albeit with the life of his sister as the incentive) and couldn’t make it into the courtroom through fear.
Thus Eddie has 48 hours to both keep Volchek a free man and hope that they stick to their deal (which he views as unlikely) or come up with a plan that saves his daughter first and himself if he can.
I am not usually a big fan of legal thrillers (the odd John Grisham has been my limit recently although I did like Perry Mason when I was younger) but I was persuaded to read this one by the reviews I read elsewhere which were glowing and by the fact that the writer is Northern Irish (I may be a blow-in (here nearly 15 years now) but I do support the local talent).
If anything the reviews were giving faint praise – this is a really really impressive debut novel.
Eddie Flynn is engaging character whom you do root for despite his murky past and present – he is a kind of ‘if you get given lemons you make lemonade’ guy who thinks on his feet and has friends who can help him out of an hole or both sides of the law.
The writing is fast-paced but very literate – it is a roller-coaster ride for Eddie but you keep turning the pages to see what is coming next.
I will certainly be looking out for the next book from Steve Cavanagh, which the author said at the launch at No Alibis, will be another Eddie Flynn novel.